WHEREIN IS RELATED THE STRANGE THING, WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS AN ADVENTURE, THAT HAPPENED DON QUIXOTE
A clear limpid spring which they discovered in a cool grove relieved Don Quixote and Sancho of the dust and fatigue due to the unpolite behaviour of the bulls, and by the side of this, having turned Dapple and Rocinante loose without headstall or bridle, the forlorn pair, master and man, seated themselves. Sancho had recourse to the larder of his alforjas and took out of them what he called the prog; Don Quixote rinsed his mouth and bathed his face, by which cooling process his flagging energies were revived. Out of pure vexation he remained without eating, and out of pure politeness Sancho did not venture to touch a morsel of what was before him, but waited for his master to act as taster. Seeing, however, that, absorbed in thought, he was forgetting to carry the bread to his mouth, he said never a word, and trampling every sort of good breeding under foot, began to stow away in his paunch the bread and cheese that came to his hand.
"Eat, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "support life, which is of more consequence to thee than to me, and leave me to die under the pain of my thoughts and pressure of my misfortunes. I was born, Sancho, to live dying, and thou to die eating; and to prove the truth of what I say, look at me, printed in histories, famed in arms, courteous in behaviour, honoured by princes, courted by maidens; and after all, when I looked forward to palms, triumphs, and crowns, won and earned by my valiant deeds, I have this morning seen myself trampled on, kicked, and crushed by the feet of unclean and filthy animals. This thought blunts my teeth, paralyses my jaws, cramps my hands, and robs me of all appetite for food; so much so that I have a mind to let myself die of hunger, the cruelest death of all deaths."
"So then," said Sancho, munching hard all the time, "your worship does not agree with the proverb that says, 'Let Martha die, but let her die with a full belly.' I, at any rate, have no mind to kill myself; so far from that, I mean to do as the cobbler does, who stretches the leather with his teeth until he makes it reach as far as he wants. I'll stretch out my life by eating until it reaches the end heaven has fixed for it; and let me tell you, senor, there's no greater folly than to think of dying of despair as your worship does; take my advice, and after eating lie down and sleep a bit on this green grass-mattress, and you will see that when you awake you'll feel something better."
Don Quixote did as he recommended, for it struck him that Sancho's reasoning was more like a philosopher's than a blockhead's, and said he, "Sancho, if thou wilt do for me what I am going to tell thee my ease of mind would be more assured and my heaviness of heart not so great; and it is this; to go aside a little while I am sleeping in accordance with thy advice, and, making bare thy carcase to the air, to give thyself three or four hundred lashes with Rocinante's reins, on account of the three thousand and odd thou art to give thyself for the disenchantment of Dulcinea; for it is a great pity that the poor lady should be left enchanted through thy carelessness and negligence."
"There is a good deal to be said on that point," said Sancho; "let us both go to sleep now, and after that, God has decreed what will happen. Let me tell your worship that for a man to whip himself in cold blood is a hard thing, especially if the stripes fall upon an ill-nourished and worse-fed body. Let my lady Dulcinea have patience, and when she is least expecting it, she will see me made a riddle of with whipping, and 'until death it's all life;' I mean that I have still life in me, and the desire to make good what I have promised."
Don Quixote thanked him, and ate a little, and Sancho a good deal, and then they both lay down to sleep, leaving those two inseparable friends and comrades, Rocinante and Dapple, to their own devices and to feed unrestrained upon the abundant grass with which the meadow was furnished. They woke up rather late, mounted once more and resumed their journey, pushing on to reach an inn which was in sight, apparently a league off. I say an inn, because Don Quixote called it so, contrary to his usual practice of calling all inns castles. They reached it, and asked the landlord if they could put up there. He said yes, with as much comfort and as good fare as they could find in Saragossa. They dismounted, and Sancho stowed away his larder in a room of which the landlord gave him the key. He took the beasts to the stable, fed them, and came back to see what orders Don Quixote, who was seated on a bench at the door, had for him, giving special thanks to heaven that this inn had not been taken for a castle by his master. Supper-time came, and they repaired to their room, and Sancho asked the landlord what he had to give them for supper. To this the landlord replied that his mouth should be the measure; he had only to ask what he would; for that inn was provided with the birds of the air and the fowls of the earth and the fish of the sea.
"There's no need of all that," said Sancho; "if they'll roast us a couple of chickens we'll be satisfied, for my master is delicate and eats little, and I'm not over and above gluttonous."
The landlord replied he had no chickens, for the kites had stolen them.
"Well then," said Sancho, "let senor landlord tell them to roast a pullet, so that it is a tender one."
"Pullet! My father!" said the landlord; "indeed and in truth it's only yesterday I sent over fifty to the city to sell; but saving pullets ask what you will."
"In that case," said Sancho, "you will not be without veal or kid."
"Just now," said the landlord, "there's none in the house, for it's all finished; but next week there will be enough and to spare."
"Much good that does us," said Sancho; "I'll lay a bet that all these short-comings are going to wind up in plenty of bacon and eggs."
"By God," said the landlord, "my guest's wits must be precious dull; I tell him I have neither pullets nor hens, and he wants me to have eggs! Talk of other dainties, if you please, and don't ask for hens again."
"Body o' me!" said Sancho, "let's settle the matter; say at once what you have got, and let us have no more words about it."
"In truth and earnest, senor guest," said the landlord, "all I have is a couple of cow-heels like calves' feet, or a couple of calves' feet like cowheels; they are boiled with chick-peas, onions, and bacon, and at this moment they are crying 'Come eat me, come eat me."
"I mark them for mine on the spot," said Sancho; "let nobody touch them; I'll pay better for them than anyone else, for I could not wish for anything more to my taste; and I don't care a pin whether they are feet or heels."
"Nobody shall touch them," said the landlord; "for the other guests I have, being persons of high quality, bring their own cook and caterer and larder with them."
"If you come to people of quality," said Sancho, "there's nobody more so than my master; but the calling he follows does not allow of larders or store-rooms; we lay ourselves down in the middle of a meadow, and fill ourselves with acorns or medlars."
Here ended Sancho's conversation with the landlord, Sancho not caring to carry it any farther by answering him; for he had already asked him what calling or what profession it was his master was of.
Supper-time having come, then, Don Quixote betook himself to his room, the landlord brought in the stew-pan just as it was, and he sat himself down to sup very resolutely. It seems that in another room, which was next to Don Quixote's, with nothing but a thin partition to separate it, he overheard these words, "As you live, Senor Don Jeronimo, while they are bringing supper, let us read another chapter of the Second Part of 'Don Quixote of La Mancha.'"
The instant Don Quixote heard his own name be started to his feet and listened with open ears to catch what they said about him, and heard the Don Jeronimo who had been addressed say in reply, "Why would you have us read that absurd stuff, Don Juan, when it is impossible for anyone who has read the First Part of the history of 'Don Quixote of La Mancha' to take any pleasure in reading this Second Part?"
"For all that," said he who was addressed as Don Juan, "we shall do well to read it, for there is no book so bad but it has something good in it. What displeases me most in it is that it represents Don Quixote as now cured of his love for Dulcinea del Toboso."
On hearing this Don Quixote, full of wrath and indignation, lifted up his voice and said, "Whoever he may be who says that Don Quixote of La Mancha has forgotten or can forget Dulcinea del Toboso, I will teach him with equal arms that what he says is very far from the truth; for neither can the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso be forgotten, nor can forgetfulness have a place in Don Quixote; his motto is constancy, and his profession to maintain the same with his life and never wrong it."
"Who is this that answers us?" said they in the next room.